War of the Worlds 21st Century
I taught many people to play Galaxy this year - ten at
the demo, but many more at various other times during the convention.
The opportunity to shoot at other people's ships and bases seemed
to generally be a crowd pleaser. (Several of the people at the
demo stayed well beyond the allotted time because they didn't
want to just play a few hands - they wanted to finish their game.)
In the first round, there were 26 games played, 12 were 4-player
and the other 14 were 5-player. In seven of those games, victory
was decided by the tie-breaker (the value of the ships in players'
final hands). In one, the tie was between three people and the
other two players tied each other for last place. In another
game, the three players who had secret bases saw each one surrender.
The two players with no secret base tied for first. A few of
the tables seemed to miss the rule for deciding ties; I'll emphasize
it more next year.
The worlds most often surrendered during the tournament was
Myrmidon, followed by Kha' Farjimmn. The most poplar choice for
a secret base during the tournament was Felowi, and by far the
least popular was Kha' Farjimmn. The average score for the 4-player
games was 32.9 and the average score of the 5-player games was
37.6. However, for both 4- and 5-player games, the average score
of the winner was around 12 (12.2 and 12.0).
By the way, I've noticed - whether I'm playing Galaxy
in a tournament or just for fun - the scoring opportunity that
people are most likely to forget about is Spoils of War. I warned
people before each heat began, covered the topic extensively
in the Demo, and put it in bold, italic and large type on the
player's aid sheet, yet I still heard people grumbling about
forgetting it. (And this year, everyone was out of luck if they
had already started a new round or picked up the cards from the
table.) Remember Spoils of War, y'all! (Also remember that the
spoils only apply to the column with the highest ship - spoils
earned at one world don't allow you to affect another world.)
Luckily for the semi-finalists, only 24 people showed up to
play in the semi-finals (if all 26 table winners had been there,
we would have had to resort to a quarter-final format). I had
seeded all first-, second-, and third-place finishers in order.
(Next year, I'll use my laptop-instead of a calculator - and
the first-place finishers will not be seeded; they'll just know
they got into the finals.) Things went smoothly - except that
all of my blank score sheets disappeared. The participants were
very good sports about it all and kept track of scores on notebook
Just the participants in the final made things interesting
- both Steve Shambeda and his son Jon made it. (Steve even has
another son who competed in the tournament - Jed.) The format
for the final was different than the other rounds -i t consisted
of two games, with the winner as the person with the highest
total in both games.
It started out very slow and
deliberate -in fact, no one had seen a game take so long. Kaarin
Engelmann had hot dice defending the Kha' Farjimmn - she fought
off a battle cruiser and two cruisers. David Buchholz took the
governorship of the Myrmidon and used it four times against Jon;
still, Jon held on. In the last round, Steve played a Transport
to improve one of Kaarin's bases on the Kha' Farjimmn, apparently
to make it more of a target. Kaarin followed this move by playing
a Drone on the Kha' Farjimmn and causing it to surrender (thus
losing 5 points, which could be what caused her to come in 2nd
in the end). In that game, it turned out that threeof the five
players had the Ecup Contract as their Secret Base. As a result,
the scores were very close - Steve and Jon both had 12 points,
Kaarin had 11, Steve 10, and David, whose secret Base the Divergence
had surrendered first, brought up last with only three points.
But the Final was only half over.
It was not good news for Steve, who intended to discard a
card from a surrendered world and ended up playing a Nova on
this own Ecup Contract, effectively eliminating all of his own
points. In the end, it came down to Kaarin who had to decide
between giving the big points to Steve or to Jon. Since giving
them to Steve, also gave her second place, she took it. David
ended up with enough points in the second game (he actually was
the high scorer in that game) to move up to third place.
A final note: As GM, I could not have done my job without
the able assistance of Stuart Tucker, who actually ran two of
the heats. He went way above-and-beyond the call of duty as assistant